This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You remember Jack. He went "On the Record" after Chrysler stunned the dealers by dropping surprise notices on them that the auto maker's relationship with 789 dealerships nationwide was ending. Well, now Jack alone is taking on the president and the president's task force in a new commercial. Jack is also asking for your help. He wants you to write to President Obama to help save the dealerships. Moments ago, Jack went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: The news that GM is probably going to file bankruptcy on Monday -- the government is going to come up with about 70 percent of ownership, it's now going to go from General Motors now to "Government Motors" -- what do you make of this?
JACK FITZGERALD, PRES., FITZGERALD AUTO MALL: Well, I think it's going to -- that's one way to save General Motors from itself. Now, if the government will change the management there, we'll have something.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's the problem. One of the things that I read said that they're going to leave the management to the experts.
FITZGERALD: Yes, well, there are experts in GM now and they expertly managed to put it into bankruptcy, haven't they.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly looks like they're headed that way. So the task force that sort of looked at this whole, you know, auto industry and what to do -- they didn't look at everything, in your mind, did they, when they (INAUDIBLE)
FITZGERALD: No, they really didn't.
VAN SUSTEREN: They're not Jack the dealer! They're, like, the Wall Street whiz kids, right?
FITZGERALD: Yes. And that's how they looked at it, you know, at about 40,000 feet. And they're very bright people. I know they're very bright people or they wouldn't be there.
VAN SUSTEREN: You mean high IQ, but no...
FITZGERALD: I mean high -- no experience.
VAN SUSTEREN: Don't know the business.
FITZGERALD: What's the best teacher?
VAN SUSTEREN: Experience.
FITZGERALD: Experience is the best teacher.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what...
FITZGERALD: They're missing that.
VAN SUSTEREN: What didn't they look at?
FITZGERALD: Well, they didn't look at customer service.
VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning, if I have a car and I want to go in and get it fixed, now I got a problem.
FITZGERALD: Well, you need -- you need to go further and probably wait in line. I mean, there are 150 million cars on the road -- Detroit 3 cars, I should say. Now, that's what we're talking about, Detroit 3 cars. There's 87 million imports, too. But there are only 13,000 domestic dealers, Detroit 3 dealers, in business today.
VAN SUSTEREN: To repair all those.
FITZGERALD: To repair that 150 million.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so when GM...
FITZGERALD: When there was 50 million, there were 40,000. If you put it into perspective, there used to be 40,000 serving 50 million, now you got 13,000 serving 150 million.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's going to get worse.
FITZGERALD: Service sucks.
VAN SUSTEREN: Service sucks!
FITZGERALD: Well, what are you going to say? (INAUDIBLE) you know, some of them are overwhelmed. It's hard to do that. So service slips. Its suffers. And with imports, they already got 10,000 dealers doing imports, and there's only 87,000 (SIC) imports. So you got twice as much work for the typical Detroit 3 dealer to do as for an import dealer to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So what else didn't the task force consider that you think is, you know, an egregious error in their thinking?
FITZGERALD: Well, they missed service to consumers and they certainly missed the fleet sale issue and...
VAN SUSTEREN: Fleet sale...
FITZGERALD: ... used cars.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. Let's stop (INAUDIBLE) Fleet sales meaning selling a bunch of cars to Hertz or to National. That's what you mean by a fleet.
FITZGERALD: Yes, like that.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So they missed that.
FITZGERALD: Well, because those have to be bought back by Detroit and resold to dealers through the factory auction system, and they don't count those. In their analysis, they didn't count used -- those are called used cars, too, so they're lumped in with used cars and they didn't consider used cars.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what does that mean, though, in terms of the analysis? Why is that an error in sort of how the task force looked at this?
FITZGERALD: Well, it's big because there's almost four times as many used cars as new. So you've got much bigger business in used cars than you do in new. And a nearly new car and a used car -- look, if you add what Chrysler does in retail new and used together, even in a bad year like last year, it was nearly six million. Toyota only did a little over four, and Honda a little over three. You know, you got to put that into perspective when you say you don't need as many Chrysler dealers as you do Honda and Toyota dealers. Clearly, you need more.
VAN SUSTEREN: You have a commercial running. I saw it myself on TV. I was drinking my coffee and saw your commercial. What's with this commercial about speaking out?
FITZGERALD: Well, look, I sold cars, and I thought I'd be here to take care of them. I did that in good faith. When the president said you'll get your car serviced same as always. The same as always to me means same as always, which means that I'd be here to take care of my customers. I had no idea he was going to let these manufacturers play games with franchises. You know, Chrysler's already out looking for new dealers. It was in Automotive News. So it's not -- it's not a good faith termination, these terminations (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: So you've taken to the airwaves, telling people to write the president.
FITZGERALD: Yes. I think I ought to be entitled to take care of my customers' cars. And maybe if my customers get upset enough, you know, he might tell them to leave me alone, and the other dealers, too. They shouldn't be terminating dealers. They don't have enough dealers now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Has the task force ever called you?
FITZGERALD: I've called them.
VAN SUSTEREN: How many times?
FITZGERALD: I don't know. And I e-mailed -- I don't know how to do e-mail, but I got them e-mailed a bunch of times.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ever get a response?
FITZGERALD: Well, they did at first. I think -- I think -- staff people. I think they were -- I think they're told to, you know, pacify the people that call up. But it's clear they made their decision way before I ever heard about it. This was cast in concrete a long, long time ago. They've done exactly what they wanted to do. And I think they just didn't get a lot of good advice. There's nobody on the task force that ever made a car, nobody that ever sold one.
Now, I wouldn't even dream of going to Wall Street and telling them how to operate. I know I don't know what the hell I'm doing up there. But I think they should listen to people in our business before they decide to manage it.
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